In the 50s, much of the hope for the future was big, bold technology that augmented day to day life. In the 21st century, most technology is getting smaller and, more efficient, and seamlessly integrated. You’re far more likely to know about technology than notice it with today’s focus on nano and micro.
The field of dentistry is no exception, or perhaps an emphasis on this trend. A dentist replaces worn and damaged teeth with artificial replicas visually indistinguishable from natural ones with a dental implant procedure.
Most adults are missing at least one tooth, with the average standing at 2.39 for those in the prime adult years. Implants are the most popular way to replace a tooth, so there are good odds that at least some of the people you see in a day benefit from these futuristic implants.
Considering joining this renewed smile group? This guide will answer the pertinent points about this cutting edge technology.
Dental Implant Procedure Overview
If you’ve been confused or concerned about the process of getting a dental implant, or even what a dental implant is, that’s understandable.
Part of this confusion comes from the wording; after all, many dental procedures ‘implant’ something in the mouth, such as a filling, a crown, or a bridge. Furthermore, implants also include an artificial tooth that is called a crown.
A dental implant procedure replaces a tooth by installing three appliances in the mouth (per tooth). These are the post, the abutment, and the crown.
Many dentists split these three appliances across three different procedures. At Gordon Dental Implants & Cosmetics, all of this can be done in a single process.
Before getting a dental implant, a dentist needs to perform a series of tests and exams. These preparatory steps determine if an implant is the best choice for you and lay the groundwork for the procedure itself.
Implants are effective and long-lasting devices that benefit many.
However, if you are dealing with certain underlying conditions, an implant may not work. Issues with osteoporosis and low bone density make it difficult to anchor the post. Periodontal disease and gum disease need to be dealt with before an implant to reduce infection risks and slow decay to the mouth as a whole.
Getting an implant is a major procedure, and a speedy recovery is best for your health and the longevity of the implant.
Once the dentist confirms your overall oral health, the condition of the teeth gets assessed. The dentist takes a series of images to determine your mouth’s current state and collect size, shape, and color information for casting your new teeth.
Finally, the dentist will construct a treatment plan tailored to you. This plan provides a timeline for all of the steps from the day of your initial screening to your recovery. Expect this plan to be modified based on how well you follow post-care instructions and diet, as well as your healing factor.
Step-by-Step Implant Procedure
Presented below is a rapid-fire list of the steps of the procedure itself.
General Care Procedures
This may include extractions, repairs, and medications to treat any infection.
Any untreated damage within the mouth will slow down the recovery process and create additional risk. Removing damaged teeth outright is especially crucial if multiple implants will be placed.
Bone Grafting (if needed)
The bone needs to be strong enough to hold the implant. When density is low, bone grafts become necessary.
Bone density issues include a lack of substantive surface, a surface that is too soft, and even overly hard bone. Certain cancers can harden bone, making it extra painful to implant and also slowing bonding processes.
Dentists have access to multiple materials to improve the condition of the jawbone. This includes moving bone from one location to another, commonly known as a graft. A synthetic bone graft uses a cellular matrix to enhance growth.
In extreme cases, a partial bone matrix built of nanotubes is introduced.
The type of grafting performed will increase the timetable of the next steps. When only light deficits exist, the surgeon introduces a bone graft the same day as the post’s implanting. For heavier grafts, up to six months are needed.
The dentist cuts through the gum and into the underlying bone. Don’t worry; you’ll not notice as general anesthesia is used during this part of the process.
The dentist then drills into the exposed bone (newly deemed pristine from grafting or overall good health). A metal post (usually titanium) is inserted into the hole. The bone grows around the post, forming the root of the new tooth.
For a typical implant procedure, a dentist places a temporary tooth or partial denture. These cover gaps while the underlying ara heals before the final steps are completed.
For a one-day procedure, the abutment is also placed during this step, negating the need to cut the area open again later down the line. The one-day procedure still uses a temporary crown while casting is completed of the permanent crown.
Healing and Growth
Either way, the recovery period for the jawbone and the osseointegration process starts. This fancy word covers the time of the jawbone and the metal post integrating with each other to form a strong bond.
During the healing and growth step, take care to follow diet restrictions to avoid wiggling or micro moving the post.
Movements to the post slow down the recovery process. This also opens gaps that invite infection. Finally, movement misaligns the teeth above, which can be painful and damaging to adjacent teeth.
With the integration of the post with the jawbone complete, the dentist needs to insert the abutment. Gums grow up around the post as part of the natural healing process. Often they grow over a portion of the post that the abutment threads into.
The dentist cuts out the excess gum tissue and then attaches the abutment. They then suture the gum back into place around, but not on top of, the abutment.
With the gums fully healed and set around the abutment, the final step begins. The final permanent crown comes into play.
Your choice of materials for the crown and the shape and color are all decided ahead of this step as it takes time to cast a tooth.
Artificial teeth come in two different varieties depending on the number of implants and the space that they cover. For a single tooth, a fixed tooth gets cemented onto the abutment very much the way a crown is attached to a tooth base.
A removable denture referred to as an all on 4 or all on 6 gets attached for a gap of three teeth or more. These removable teeth work similar to dentures but hold stronger and look more natural.
A natural look for crowns is recommended. A principal reason to undergo dental implant procedures is to restore or upgrade a smile. Studies into earning potential over time strongly suggest that a good set of teeth increases life long earnings and satisfaction.
Timeline of the Procedure
The full timeline for an implant procedure varies based on the healing process and condition of the teeth, gums, and jawbone.
For a typical patient, the first day establishes a need and removes damaged areas. A second appointment for the implant surgery is then scheduled. After two to four months of osseointegration, the abutment is placed.
Two or three weeks of healing for the gums, and then the permanent teeth get placed.
This is the optimal timeline. Patients should expect to see the timetable extend over shrinking. It’s rare for a person to heal faster and many stressors in the environment contribute to slower healing.
One Day Implants? It’s Possible!
The one-day dental implant procedure isn’t magic; it’s a curtailing of some elements of the process by providing all of the services under one roof.
Rather than outsource a patient to an oral surgeon, the practice already has a dental surgeon on-hand. Placing the abutment during the implant removes the need to further open and close the gums.
The only step that needs to be taken after the first visit is the permanent crown’s placement. Casting a crown that closely resembles the original tooth accounts for most of this need. It’s possible to cast certain ceramic crowns same-day, but these are not the best materials for implant crowns.
Discomfort and Recovery
After an implant procedure, expect a lengthy recovery. It takes time for the bone and post to integrate, and that strong bond is essential.
Pain in and around the implant area is expected. Swelling from procedure also occurs because the tissues take damage from the surgery. Overall, the pain may feel deeper and more pointed than a typical extraction or even root canal.
Swelling and a bad taste or discharge represent infection. Infections create additional pain and are best avoided. Infection in the mouth also has cascading health effects, so follow the assigned antibiotic regiment fully.
The All-in-One Difference
Looking into a dental implant procedure worries many patients. The concern over the surgery rubs up against the public stigma of vanity. Both of these concerns are overblown.
A dental implant represents an effective tool for maintaining oral health. With our one dentist, one office, one fee approach, you have nothing to worry about. Contact Dr. Gordon and his team today.